by Ashley Bustamante
When Ava Locke was five years old, she began a journey to join the Benefactors—the leaders of the magical continent of Magus. Twelve years later, she unwittingly started down the road to betray them.
On Magus where colors fuel magical abilities, yellow is banned in an effort to protect people from its mind-controlling capabilities. When a rogue Yellow magic-user named Elm escapes imprisonment Ava becomes innocently fascinated with his story.
Once this mysterious Elm shows up at her school, Ava pushes her interest to the next level by helping him evade the Benefactors. Ava grows increasingly conflicted as her intrigue leads her down a dark road of secrets about her world. As she learns more about Yellow magic’s potential to control its victims, Ava now must question whether her rash decisions are all her own or if someone else is pulling the strings.
Vivid is the first book in the YA dystopian-fantasy Color Theory series. Bustamante did a great job of balancing introducing us to the world and setting up the series while crafting a solid novel on its own.
I liked the magic system for Vivid–color magic systems don’t seem super common. The worldbuilding felt familiar and fantastical at the same time.
The characters were nice. I might be in the minority here, but I actually didn’t connect a ton with Elm; he felt a little too “stiff/polished,” for lack of a better word. I would like to see a little more of an “adopted” sibling relationship between Ava and Blake, but it wouldn’t have quite fit with Ava’s character. (Honestly, I might want that just because I didn’t want a love triangle 😉)
My only problem with the book is that the plot didn’t quite work for me. I’m going to attempt to not give away too many spoilers.
In Magus, Yellow is forbidden because Yellow magic has to do with mind control/manipulation. Understandably, people are a little freaked out by the idea of other people having that ability–hence Yellow being forbidden. The plot has to do with Ava discovering that Yellow magic isn’t as evil as it’s made out to be and that Red and Blue magic have the same potential to cause harm.
I agree that the other color magics can be abused for evil, just like Yellow magic. However, mind control still seems like a stronger ability than Red or Blue magic–partly because it can be used to make a magic user of another color use their magic (as we find out in the sequel).
So all that to say: the reasoning behind part of the plot didn’t quite ring true for me, but I still enjoyed Vivid.
Cautions: non-graphic moderate/heavy violence; characters cut themselves (non-detailed) to practice healing; very brief mention of a character having contemplated suicide in the past; moderate romance; two kisses